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https://www.sesync.o...ip-program-2018 Postdoctoral Fellowship Program 2018
Dec 01, 2017
The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), located in Annapolis, Maryland, invites applications from early career scholars (≤ four years post PhD) for two-year postdoctoral fellowships that begin August 2018. Each fellow works with a Collaborating Mentor (scholar) of their choosing that extends the fellow’s current network of collaborators; the mentor may be affiliated with any organization or institution. Fellows are in residence at SESYNC full time but are provided travel funds to interact with their mentor and attend conferences.
Successful candidates will use synthesis methods to address a problem arising from, or associated with, the relationship between humans and the environment. Projects should have the potential to advance understanding of socio-environmental systems, but the information synthesized may be primarily social or environmental in nature, or some mix.
SESYNC has ~ 15 postdoctoral scholars in residence whose expertise spans the social sciencesand natural sciences; approximately six – eight new fellows join the program as a cohort each fall. In addition to undertaking a synthesis research project, Postdoctoral Fellows participate in the SESYNC Socio-Environmental Immersion Program. The program is designed to advance their understanding of theories and methods foundational to research on socio-environmental systems and to advance their understanding of the science-policy nexus. Successful candidates will have made clear in their applications how progress on their proposed projects may benefit from participation in the Immersion program and/or how the program aligns with their specific career objectives.
Prospective fellows who propose the use of advanced theoretical, computational, and/or mathematical approaches to explore, characterize, and understand the structure and dynamics of socio-environmental systems are particularly encouraged to apply. Applicants who believe their project fits within the description of “Computational Synthesis” projects (see below), should designate their project as such by putting the words Computational Synthesis at the beginning of their project title. Applicants for Computational Synthesis projects will receive special consideration, may be eligible for additional funds, and will be evaluated based on additional criteria listed below.
SESYNC also encourages applications from candidates who will take advantage of long term data sets, ongoing experiments, or modeling results from LTER sites. The current LTER sites collect long-term data in five core areas.These data are ripe for data discovery, analysis, visualization, and synthesis. Applicants may wish to combine LTER data with other forms of data from outside the LTER network. Applicants who believe their project fits within the description of “LTER” projects (see below), should designate their project as such by putting the word LTER at the beginning of their project title. Proposals for LTER projects will receive special consideration and will be evaluated based on additional criteria listed below.
Choosing a Collaborating Mentor
Applicants should choose a project idea and work with a prospective Collaborating Mentor, who will function as a project mentor, to co-develop the project proposal and research. Applicants are responsible for initiating and developing the relationship with a Collaborating Mentor. To facilitate this process, SESYNC will provide a list of scholars (Mentor Registry) who have expressed interest in working with SESYNC postdocs to all successfully pre-screened prospective applicants. Alternatively, applicants may recruit their own Collaborating Mentor. All potential Collaborating Mentors must submit an application (see application details below), and SESYNC must approve all potential Collaborating Mentors to ensure they understand the commitment they are making to your progress and success. Applications for Collaborating Mentors to be included in the Mentor Registry are due by October 27, 2017, 5 p.m. ET. Applicants must finalize commitments with Collaborating Mentors to work together in developing a proposal for the fellowship application by November 17, 2017 (no official notification to SESYNC is required at this stage). Collaborating Mentors recruited by potentail postdocs do not need to be included in the Mentor Registry, but applications are still required by November 17, 2017 to formally assume this role.
What is Socio-Environmental Synthesis?
Synthesis is a research approach that accelerates knowledge production by distilling or integrating existing data, ideas, theories, and/or methods to draw more reliable or generalizable conclusions and to reveal novel areas of study. Socio-environmental synthesis often involves merging large and/or heterogeneous data sets from multiple sources, researchers, or fields of inquiry, as well as critical analysis in evaluating arguments and interpreting evidence. It can employ a diverse array of theoretical and methodological approaches (e.g., statistical/mathematical, structured case studies comparison, cultural analytics, scenario studies, game theory, ethnographic studies, organizational theory, simulation/computational modeling, etc.). Regardless of approach, fellows’ projects take advantage of existing data/information; SESYNC does not fund fellows to collect new field or survey data.
What is the Socio-Environmental Immersion Program?
Unique among environmental postdoctoral programs, a learning component of the SESYNC postdoctoral program will steep Fellows in theory foundational to understanding socio-environmental systems. The core of this experience is engagement with material and people from diverse disciplines that are relevant to research on socio-environmental systems. This takes the form of interactive workshops and lectures by visiting scholars and policy-makers, discussions motivated by videos or thought-exercises, and activities or projects designed or requested by the fellows. The 2018-2019 Immersion Program will include a series of five multi-day workshops. SESYNC’s weekly seminar series also provides additional opportunities to engage with visiting scholars.
Fellows have the additional opportunity to participate in a wealth of Center activities as observers or as active participants. These include working groups analyzing novel databases and writing papers on areas as diverse as: tropical reforestation, sustainable governance of resistance evolution, fisheries and food security, participatory modeling, and socio-spatial ecology of bed bugs.
Regardless of disciplinary background, the SESYNC Postdoctoral Socio-Environmental Immersion Program provides the freedom and support to do cutting-edge synthesis research while increasing capacity to collaborate across disciplinary divides. It provides opportunities to help Fellows chart their own academic and professional path in a vibrant environment focused on actionable science for a more sustainable future.
The Application Process
Preliminary Screening Application Deadline: October 27, 2017 5 p.m. ET
All interested candidates must first submit a pre-screening application via the online submission site (application link forthcoming). Requirements to pass pre-screening are: 1) applicant background and interests are an appropriate match for SESYNC; 2) applicant must have received their PhD within the past four years: no earlier than June 15, 2014 and no later than July 1, 2018. Applicants that have not yet received their PhD are required to submit a letter from their graduate advisor or a committee member during the pre-screening process and with the final application. The letter should verify expectations for date of degree completion. Candidates who are offered a fellowship but do not complete their PhD by July 1, 2018 will have to reapply. Because pre-screening is done on a rolling basis, we strongly encourage pre-screening applications be submitted as soon as possible. Applicants are notified rapidly of the outcome and are given access to the Mentor Registry, a list of potential Collaborating Mentors. New Collaborating Mentors will be added to the Registry until November 3, 2017.
Proposal Co-Development with Collaborating Mentor
Upon receiving the link to the SESYNC Registry of Collaborating Mentors, successfully pre-screened applicants should initiate contact with potential Mentors with whom they might be interested in co-developing a synthesis research project. The Mentor Registry will include preliminary project ideas, short bios, and contact information. If the prospective Fellow and Collaborating Mentors mutually agree to work together on a proposal for this fellowship, the prospective Fellow should take the lead in writing and developing the proposal. Prospective Fellows are also invited to recruit their own Collaborating Mentors. However, all potential collaborators must submit an application to formally assume this role. Applicants should keep in mind that mentors cannot be current or former advisors, dissertation committee members, or individuals with whom the candidate has published. All proposals must be co-developed with a Collaborating Mentor.
Co-Mentors are permitted provided: 1) co-mentors both agree to contribute to the project and mentor the applicant equally, 2) there are no more than two co-mentors, and 3) co-mentors agree to share the travel funds and honorarium. Applications for Collaborating Mentors are due by the deadline for selecting Collaborating Mentors: November 17, 2017, 5 p.m. ET. Co-Mentors should jointly submit a single Collaborating Mentor application.
Final proposals must be submitted via the online submission site (application link forthcoming); only prospective Fellows who have been approved via the pre-screening application will be able to submit a proposal. Required components of the application are described below. Fellowship applications are due by December 1, 2017, 5 p.m. ET.
Postdoctoral applications will be evaluated by the following criteria. Each is taken seriously by the review panel:
The University of Maryland is an Equal Opportunity Employer
Minorities and Women Are Encouraged to Apply